How to Restore Your iPhone 5 When It's in Recovery Mode

By John Granby

Get your iPhone running properly again using iTunes to restore it.
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In the rare event that your iPhone 5 is stuck in recovery mode, you can restore it to factory settings using iTunes on your computer. Your phone is in recovery mode if you see the iTunes logo and a USB cable icon displayed on the screen and the Home button and touch screen do not respond. The iTunes restore process is smooth but takes time; the Apple software image is large and can take more than an hour to download depending on the speed of your Internet connection. Following the restore process, apply one of your iTunes or iCloud backups to the phone to return your business contacts and email settings to the phone.

Download and install the latest version of iTunes if you do not have it installed on your computer. Launch iTunes after it is installed and updated.

Plug your iPhone into your computer using the USB cable and click "OK" on the alert window that informs you iTunes has detected an iPhone in recovery mode.

Click on the name of your iPhone in iTunes and click the Summary tab.

Click "Restore iPhone" and then "Restore" on the alert window warning you that all your data will be erased.

Click "OK" when the restore process is complete. Monitor the progress of the restore by watching the progress bar. The restore may take some time, which is mostly due to downloading the iPhone software image. The image is a large file and the download time depends on your Internet connection speed.

Restore your iPhone data from a backup file in the "Restore from this backup" drop-down list and click "Continue." Optionally, you can set up your iPhone as a new iPhone and backup from an iCloud backup.


The information in this article applies to an iPhone 5 running iOS 6. The steps for this process apply equally to Mac OS X and Windows computers using iTunes '11.